What Is The Bible
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Before we discuss how to read the Bible, lets spend a few seconds talking about what the Bible is and why you need to read it.
The bible is a collection of literary works, written by 40 different authors, over 1,500 years.
It consists of 66 books that are divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The Old Testament is made up of 39 books and spans from Genesis to Malachi. The New Testament has 27 books and spans from Matthew to Revelation.
The Bible consists of books of history, poetry, written letters, prophecy and testimony about Jesus.
This collection of works makes up the Bible.
It reveals the Biblical story of the world from its creation, fall, Gods plan for our redemption, and Gods plan for the future.
Bible Reading Plan For Beginners
If you are ready to commit and dive into the whole Bible then you need a Bible reading plan. Then you dont have to think of where to start reading the Bible, you read it all!
When reading the Bible all the way through there are two main ways to do it.
One way is just from cover to cover. This is often the easiest place to start.
*Sometimes Bible reading plans include the books in a different order to break up some of the longer story sections and make it easier to read!
You can also follow a chronological order of reading. The way the Bible is currently published is not necessarily the order the books were written in.
When looking at context we realize a few books actually repeat stories of others.
This kind of Bible reading plan is often as a way to go deeper after reading it through at least once cover to cover.
Its good to mix things up and read the Bible both ways!
This year Ive read the entire Bible all the way through for the first time. It taught me so much about the bigger picture of the Bible and how Gods plan was happening throughout.
I even took on a challenge that is only for those who are really ready for a big commitment I read it through in 60 days. Check it out here!
If you are looking for a Bible Reading Plan for the entire Bible here it is! This one will go back and forth on the Old Testament and New Testament everyday!
Where Not To Start
I have actually had non-believers ask me this more than new Christians and this is a great question. The Bible is not strictly written in chronological order. For example the book of Job belongs in the time frame of the book of Genesis. Some have tried to start at Genesis and begin through the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, then Deuteronomy, but when they get to certain sections of the Old Testament they can get bogged down in the lengthy genealogies. A good example is found in I Chronicles 9:11-12: Azariah son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, the official in charge of the house of God Adaiah son of Jeroham, the son of Pashhur, the son of Malkijah and Maasai son of Adiel, the son of Jahzerah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Meshillemith, the son of Immer. You get the idea.
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Start Building The Habit Of Reading Your Bible
Habit > Understanding > Worship
Probably the most common barrier to reading and understanding the Bible is a lack of habit. In fact, I often have to go back to this step, even after decades of reading and studying the Bible. Because I cannot gain more understanding without a regular routine of opening my Bible. Until we have established the habit of regular Bible reading, understanding is going to be hard to come by. Why? Because without the habit, youll start off strong but fizzle out by the end of the week. How do I know? Been there. Done that. My guess is, you have to.
Here are a few thoughts to consider as you embark on creating a rhythm of regular time in the Bible.
- Start small. Choose something that will give you the quick win!
- Ex.: These short reading plans range from 8 days to 31 days.
Dig Into Context Before Diving Into Details
You may have heard the phrase context is key and it is!
I am going to dive deeper into this topic in the seven day Where to Start Reading the Bible Course but for now context is simply understanding facts around the book of the Bible.
Its asking these questions so you can understand each book and unique verses.
- Who wrote this book?
- Why did he write it?
- What was his main points?
- What was going on in history?
These questions give us context so when we read the verses we understand the author which leads to us better grasping their truth.
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Reading The Bible With A Non
- Thomas Bielenberg
- 2 February 2017
I have just been reminded of the great power of Gods word. Ive been meeting with one particular guy for four years. It has been a long process, with some discouragement and breaks between meetings, but we have persevered. Today I was planning on taking him through the gospel message and asking if he wanted to believe in Jesus. He indicated while we were chatting that he already believed in Jesus I was blown away! I later asked him when he had decided to believe. He said he didnt know exactly, it was more of a journey, but sometime at the start of this year. Praise God! How did it come about? Through reading Gods word together.
The reality is that Gods word is powerful. Hebrews 4:12 says it is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. But how do we bring Gods word to non-Christians so they can decide to follow Jesus? One way is to read it with them one-on-one or in a small group. Here are some ideas about how to do this with a non-Christian you know from your work, church or social scene.
Whats So Important About Reading The Bible
Christians believe that the Bible is the Word of the Creator God .
It is common to hear Christians say, God said, and you might wonder how?
While God is not one to be boxed in and limited by our understanding of His ways, one channel that God speaks to us is through His word, which is described by the writer of Hebrews as alive .
It is common to hear Christians say, God said , and you might wonder: How?
In the book of 2 Timothy, the Apostle Paul tells his disciple, Timothy, that all Scripture is God-breathed. One translation translates it more simply as inspired by God .
The purpose of the Bible? To prepare and equip His people to do every good work.
No one enters into a new relationship without communication as a child of God, our relationship with God is no different.
God desires to speak to us and He often does it through what He has already revealed in the Bible, the word of God .
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Why The Bible Is Important
JESUS ON THE OLD TESTAMENT
Jesus answered, It is written: People do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4
Jesus replied, Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? Mark 12:24
Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled. Mark 14:49
THE OLD TESTAMENT POINTS TO JESUS
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. Luke 24:27
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. John 5:39-40
JESUS ON THE APOSTLES TEACHING
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. John 16:13
THE EARLY CHURCH ON THE APOSTLES TEACHING
They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42
THE NEW TESTAMENT ON THE OLD TESTAMENT
PAUL TO A YOUNGER CHRISTIAN
Where Should I Start Reading The Bible
A lot of new and seasoned Christians have a story about their attempts to read the Bible cover to cover that goes something like this: It was going great as they read through Genesis and Exodus, but somewhere in Leviticus or Numbers, they started to get bogged down in details they didnt quite understand. And by the time they hit Deuteronomy, they were done.
While its true that all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness , we need to recognize that the Bible is not like any other book. It isnt necessarily meant to be read from front to back. In fact, the Bible is actually a library.
The Protestant Bible is comprised of 66 books, and many of those books are written in a variety of different genres or types of literature. These genres all need to be read a little differently. Starting at Genesis and trying to read straight through without a strategy can get frustrating if you dont know how these books and their literary genres work together.
There are a few ways to classify the genres of the Bible, but they typically fall into these categories.
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How Often Should You Read The Bible
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
In Joshua 1:8 God tells Joshua to meditate on the Law day and night. This will help Joshua obey Gods commands.
While reading and meditating on Gods word are two different spiritual disciplines, it is hard to do one without the other.
As a Christian, you should be reading your Bible daily.
A Good Bible Reading Plan For New Believers
My husband has often taught that the Gospel of John is an ideal book for new believers to read then theyre new to the Bible. I tend to agree with him. Since John was one of Jesuss twelve disciples, he had an up close view into the life and ministry of Jesus. Its a powerful introduction to His life, miracles, and character.
Heres a . Its spread out over 21 days, which is simple and not overwhelming at all.
A suggested reading schedule is Monday through Friday, or five days on / two days off. This way, you can use your two off days for catching up if you fall behind, which sometimes happens. Dont be too hard on yourself each day is a new day. Just open your Bible and pick up where you left off.
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Whats A Good Amount To Read In One Sitting
Christians all over the world spend time with God and his Word on a daily basis. Some encourage both morning and evening prayers and readings. Usually people read smaller amounts in one sitting and give themselves some time to think and talk with God about what they read. Its also okay to blitz through a lot of text in one sitting.
If youre just getting started, consider one of the following patterns:
- Start the day reading a Psalm and talk to God about your own thoughts and feelings in response.
- Before you lay down to sleep, read a short section of a New Testament book, like John. You can think about what youve read while you fall asleep.
- If you want to read more at a time, the Old Testament is full of fascinating stories. Start with Genesis, go on to Exodus, but then skip to Deuteronomy. The books in between are pretty dry and tend to derail even the most avid fans of the Bible. You can come back to those when youve read the juicier stuff. Leviticus and Numbers are somewhat summarized in Deuteronomy anyway. After that, its pretty smooth sailing, with some crazy stories in Joshua and Judges.
I Want To Read The Bible How Do I Start Where Do I Start
The Bible is pretty huge and can be rather intimidating.
So you want to read the Bible. Thats great! This guide will help you get started in how to read the Bible. First well look at what the Bible is and its book structure, then move into picking a translation and starting your reading plan.
Hearing people drop names like Corinthians, Genesis or Habakkuk may make you wonder if you will need to learn a foreign language just to get past page one. But dont worry, soon youll be zipping between Daniel, Jeremiah, John and Matthew without problem.
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How To Grow With God By Reading The Bible
Reading the Bible is the number one way I recommend people start seeking to hear God speak. If youve met God and are ready to go deeper, hear Him speak & interact with Him on a daily level then Scripture is the best place to start.
Sometimes we want God to speak to us individually and verbally. We want Him to be very clear in the way He approaches us with truth.
Ive found He doesnt often do that. He often wants us to seek to spend time with Him MORE than to seek Him simply to hear something or get something from Him.
Gods already spoken. A lot. He has said many things, He has performed many miracles, He has loved in many ways and His people wrote those down for us.
The Bible is a book full of letters written by imperfect humans inspired by God and used by the Spirit to share truth.
These humans were in different time periods and in different situations yet our God remains the same through it all.
These stories and instructions are extremely important for us!
They teach us things like
- who God is
- how God used imperfect people to impact the world
- how God desires us to live an abundant life
When you read the Bible you will grow in your relationship with God.
Whether you know and understand the Bible well OR you are absolutely clueless and new, keep reading because YES you can begin to understand the Bible and go deeper with God today!
If you want to understand the Bible its simple,you have to read the Bible.
How To Read And Understand The Bible
Reading the Bible on your own is a great start to growing in your walk with Christ.
However, if you want to understand the Bible, you have to learn how to study the Bible.
Attending your local churches weekly bible study is a great place to start.
Bible studies are less formal than Sunday service. Usually, you can ask the Pastor or group leader questions and gain insight from other members of the congregation.
There are also ways to study the Bible on your own, but thats a topic for another day.
I hope answered all of your questions about the Bible and how to read it.
Dont forget to download a copy of my Bible Reading Plan for Beginners!
As always, remember to keep Jesus in the center of everything you do.
Your Sister in Christ,
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Example: How To Start Bible Study
One example is John 4:1-2: Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John .
If I was relaying the basic story, I would have just said Jesus knew that the Pharisees had heard he was baptizing and making more disciples than John. The fact that the author adds though Jesus himself didnt baptize them means that theres something important there.
I did some Googling/research and it turns out that thats actually a really important note! It seems like Jesus didnt perform water baptisms so that no Christian could lord their status over another, because we are all of equal status in Christ . By paying attention to what stands out, Im able to notice little details that I wouldnt if I just looked at the big picture.